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Contents Page: Jan 1, 2012, vol 7 no 4

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Jeffrey Woodward


The Sweet Wild Grass

That's where we stood, that's where beforehand we knew we'd end up, a gang of boys, on a hot midsummer day, loitering about a low retainer wall that marked an entrance to a village cemetery—someone scuffing his tennis shoes in the gravel, someone chewing on a blade of sweet wild grass plucked from the broad field across the road, someone retelling an exaggerated tale that an uncle had told

Then the funeral party came, everybody in black, everybody wrinkled and dry like pale dust, everybody shuffling along in dead silence except for the muffled sobbing of somebody somewhere

a rote recitation
of the 23rd Psalm
and cicadas

Then a man in black suit and tie, a lean man with a shock of white hair, approached us from that party, approached with a slow but deliberate gait, and he drew near and drew with him the hush of his black flock

But before he reached that wall, before he might come so close as to brush us with his breath or tell us whatever it was he would tell, our gang jumped up and scurried over the road, each boy then looking back over a shoulder

going quietly
into the deep
grass of summer


First published in Frogpond 33:2 2010.


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